Chicago Year in Review - 2012

December 28, 2012 (CHICAGO)

She was one of hundreds whose lives were ended by violent crime on our streets, much of it gang-related. Even as the city points to a lower crime rate overall - and the police department shuffles leadership, we are all still wrestling with this long-standing issue: How to stop people from shooting each other.

Former Governor Rod Blagojevich began his last long trip for a long time, heading off to do time: 14 years at federal prison, but not before stopping first for a burger in Colorado, then checking in at Littleton.

Patrick Fitzgerald, the man who brought Blagojevich down, among others, retired as U.S. Attorney.

We watched other major court cases:

William Balfour, sentenced to three life terms for the murders of three members of singer Jennifer Hudson's family.

Drew Peterson found guilty of the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Christopher Vaughn, guilty of murdering his wife and children in their SUV in Will County.

And the civil judgment against former cop Anthony Abbate, who beat a female bartender.

The trial of Cook County Commissioner William Beavers is still to come - watch for that in 2013.

Along with the case of R.J. Vanecko, the nephew of Mayor Richard M. Daley, charged in the death of David Koschman, a case going back eight years.

State Rep. Derrick Smith got kicked out of his Springfield seat - only to be re-elected in November.

And Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. won re-election as well while battling bipolar disorder and under the cloud of a federal investigation - then he resigned just before Thanksgiving.

Cook County got a new medical examiner after our I-Team uncovered a mess at the morgue.

The South Side Irish got their parade back in March.

Chicagoans worried about the NATO Summit even without the additional G-8 Summit. Yes, there were mass demonstrations in the streets and clashes between police and protestors, but it went off largely without a hitch - and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy earned praise for his hands-on leadership.

In Wisconsin, six people and a gunman died in the shootings at a Sikh Temple near Milwaukee.

A freight train derailed in the Northbrook area, and it took a day before investigators realized two people were dead in a car under the debris.

We lost Chicago fire captain Herbie Johnson, who died fighting a fire in Gage Park, and firefighter Walter Patmon.

And Rocky Clark passed away - the former Blue Island football player who inspired us with his life despite physical paralysis.

We watched Senator Mark Kirk's gradual recovery following a stroke.

We marveled at the mild weather last winter and savored the 80's in March, but a severe storm with a deadly twister tore through downstate Harrisburg, Illinois killing six.

Chicago teachers walked out on strike - the first time in 25 years - as union president Karen Lewis faced off against Mayor Emanuel.

In the end, each side claimed a win, but schools CEO Jean Claude Brizard was out.

And President Barack Obama was in - again. Thousands of Chicagoans filled McCormick Place to celebrate his Election Night victory.

Will 2013 be a year to celebrate? Here's hoping your New Year is filled with cheers.

Alan Krashesky, ABC 7 Chicago

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